Every day property managers juggle tasks and face a complex arrange of challenges. And, whether you have a portfolio of 20 properties or 200 (or more!) many of the pain points are similar. Here are a few tips and tricks that can save you money and put hours back in your day.
The Top 5 Pain Points
Pain Point 1. Vacancies
Making sure that all units are occupied is key to reducing costs and maximizing profits. While vacancies are inevitable, the key is to reduce the turnover time between tenants. Here are some options to solve this pain point.
Offer Longer Term Leases – Lock in good tenants for longer with the option of a 2 or 3 year lease.
Find Out Intentions Early – Talk to your residents a few months (2-3) before the lease is up and gauge their intentions. If you know they are going to move, you can start to prepare marketing materials and do any repairs to the unit.
Know Your Market – If you are overpriced for your market, it’s going to sit idle for a long time. Know what is a fair price for your area, unit size and condition.
Reward Your Good Tenants – Offer discounts or bonuses, like an appliance upgrade, to stellar tenants.
Stagger Leases over Peak Periods – Most people move over the summer. Stagger your leases over this busy time to be able to turn around your units more easily.
Pain Point 2. Getting Paid on Time
Residents who do not pay their rent on time: Not only is it a huge frustration for property management companies, it also has a direct impact on cash flow. Whether the reason is that the resident simply don’t have the cash in the bank on the due date, or it slipped their mind, the outcome is the same – property professionals spend time hunting down the payment. Here are some ways to lessen late payments.
Offer Payment Options - By giving your renters numerous ways to pay their rent, you can not only make it much more convenient for them, but you can instantly reduce late payments. Encourage payment by credit card or debit. These options quicken the time of payment to bank, and also ensure that the rent comes out of their account on the day it is due.
Set Reminders - For people who are habitually late, set up a reminder through automatic phone dialers, SMS text or email to offer a gentle nudge that rent is due in a few days. A friendly reminder can go a long way in curbing delinquent payments. For those that miss the due date, set up a series of reminders with elevated urgency.
Pain Point 3. Maintenance Requests
Your renters get frustrated when property managers take a long time to respond to maintenance requests – or worse, fail to respond at all. There can be many reasons for unsatisfactory responses to maintenance requests, but property managers can do a few things to keep residents happy.
Set Expectations – Building owners are responsible for much of property maintenance, but tenants aren’t without responsibility. They should keep their unit clean, dispose of waste properly and avoid deliberate or negligent damage to the building. Let your residents know what you expect of them by outlining your requirements in your welcome package and on your resident portal.
Use a Maintenance Portal – Routine resident requests should be immediately acknowledged and handled through an online portal to ensure accountability. A communication portal captures all relevant information about the needed repair, and even enables residents to easily upload a photo of the issue. With a web-based maintenance portal in place, managers can quickly – and accurately – assign work orders. This allows for timely repairs and updates to residents, as well as a traceable communication trail with contractors or onsite maintenance staff.
Pain Point 4. Screening Tenants
As property managers, one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make is this: Do we want to rent to this applicant? Finding the right tenant can be challenging. It’s a balancing act between the narrow timeframe to get the unit rented vs. finding the best possible tenant who will pay their rent on time and not disturb other residents.
Property managers should ensure these two things:
1. Collect ALL the Information – Don’t take any shortcuts when it comes to gathering information on prospects. Look into co-applicants, guarantors and employment history, and never take potential renters as their word. Professional tenants tend to provide false employment information, so be thorough when following up with references and past employers. Property Vista’s application solution delivers a comprehensive, user-friendly application, complete with options to attach legal documents and submit digital signatures.
2. Conduct a Credit Check – Mentioning in your ad that you run credit checks is important. Following through with running the credit check is paramount. With our leasing software, you can automate credit checks and get instant approvals. You can also quickly and accurately analyze applicant data, so you’ll know within seconds whether or not your prospect has a solid financial history.
Pain Point 5. Turnover
It’s no surprise that tenant retention has a clear impact on net operating income. That’s why tenant retention and lease renewal ranks as one of the most cost-effective development strategies for multifamily property owners and managers – in good times and in bad.
A study from SatisFacts found that 54 percent of residents choose not to renew leases based on controllable reasons. The main reasons that send tenants packing was poor customer service.
Property managers can do these two things to improve their service to their renters:
1.) Improve Communication – Quite simply, good communication is good business. Tenants want to hear from landlords and property managers and know that their concerns are being addressed. It’s important to communicate with tenants throughout their occupancy, and keep them advised on scheduled maintenance or construction issues. Building owners should also highlight upgrades, building amenities and longer-term plans for the building. Help residents to see why they should stay in the building when the lease is up.
2.) Enable Self Service - More tenants would rather be able to solve their own issues rather than pick up the phone and call you. In fact, according to the Harvard Business Review, a staggering 57% of inbound calls come from customers who first attempted to resolve their issue on the company’s website. When residents can take control of things like changing rent payment methods or getting a status update on a maintenance request, it increases satisfaction and a feeling of empowerment.
3.) Do the Day-In, Day-Out Stuff Brilliantly
The move-in gifts and community events are excellent ways to build a relationship with your tenants, but nothing beats getting the basics right. It’s the small day-to-day interactions that need to be seamless and good customer service experiences for the tenant.
How We Help
At Property Vista, we can help you implement the systems and processes to eliminate these pain points and many more. To learn more about how we can help you grow your business, streamline operations and boost your bottom line, check out our pricing and book a demo.